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The polluted stream
Photo: Ministry of Environmental Protection
Road 90 opened after being blocked due to acidic water flow into Asalim Stream
Acidic water reservoir in plant belonging to Israel Chemicals bursts, eventually reaching stream; work being carried out to block acidic water flow and prevent travelers from reaching area.

Acidic water flowed for several hours into the Asalim Stream in the Judean Desert reserve. The source of the pollution is leakage from high-acid gypsum from a pool at the Rotem Amfert plant in Rotem Plateau in the south of Israel. Highway 90 was blocked for traffic between Dead Sea and Moshav Ein Tamar following the breach of the acidic water reservoir. After initially being blocked, the nearby Road 90 was reopened for traffic.

 

 

The Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Nature and Parks Authority have arrived in the area and are preventing people from entering the stream, looking into minimizing damage and stopping the flow of acidic water. The Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority is asking the public not to reach the Asalim Stream or nearby routes until further notice.

 

The Asalim Stream (Photo: Ministry of Environmental Prtection)
The Asalim Stream (Photo: Ministry of Environmental Prtection)

 

A crack in the wall of the reservoir's wall, caused from the water's high acidity level, caused the huge erosion and the pool collapsed and emptied. The water was washed for about 10 kilometers of Asalim Stream, with thousands of cubic meters of acid plaster pouring down the stream.

 

Photo: Oded Netzer, Ministry of Environmental Protection
Photo: Oded Netzer, Ministry of Environmental Protection

 

Gilad Gabbay, director of the Southern District of the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority, explained that "this is very acidic water that leaked from the plant, damaging the flora and fauna." He added that "animals in the area are liable to drink from (the polluted stream—ed). It also permeated the soil, which may affect other areas. "

 

Photo: Boaz Freifeld, Nature and Parks Authority
Photo: Boaz Freifeld, Nature and Parks Authority

 

Gabbay continued to say that "at this point, we are working in the field in cooperation with the other parties involved to minimize the damage to nature, and most importantly, to prevent harm to travelers, because any contact with the water is dangerous for them. At this stage, we estimate that the area that was damaged in the stream is more than ten kilometers long. "

 

Photo: Ministry of Environmental Protection
Photo: Ministry of Environmental Protection

 

Israel Chemicals responded bay saying, "At 11:45 we found a hole in the eastern embankment of the plaster pool at the Rotem Amfert Negev plant, which caused plaster to spill into the area of ​​pool 4 and part of Nahal Asalim. No one was injured. At this stage, the company is unable to estimate the environmental impact. "

 


First published: 30.06.17, 19:42
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